Monday Map Madness!

It’s Monday.  Grab your cup o’ joe and learn a little something extra about your neighborhood and city this morning.

Check out this great map overlay by Jack Kittle of 1927-1930 topographic maps of the Atlanta area laid on top of a current “Open Streets” map of the city. In addition to being a very good look at Decatur’s topography, you can also easily make out the city’s existing roads and buildings during that three year period.

Comment with your observations!

h/t: Peter

20 thoughts on “Monday Map Madness!”

  1. Fascinating. One could spend hours and hours on this. Looking at the schools, I see evidence of Winnona Park, Glennwood, Oakhurst, Fifth Avenue (maybe an older building than the one that closed in the early 2000s?), Girls’s High, Boy’s High, Trinity High. Also can see the Ponce Elementary that is occasionally mentioned as existing way back. No evidence of the 2nd Ave Elementary that is sometimes mentioned–maybe that has already disappeared? Or maybe it appeared and disappeared after these maps? Of course, Westchester, the “newest” of our elementaries, wasn’t there yet. I was kind of surprised to see that Clairemont wasn’t there yet. I guess the whole white northside went to Ponce or Glennwood and the whole white southside went to Winnona Park, Oakhurst, or Fifth Avenue.

    And no Scott Boulevard! I didn’t realize that it was such a modern invention. It used to be that Lawrenceville Road (now Highway) fed into Church and that was the end of that.

  2. Columbia Drive was Oak Street/Orphan Home Road.

    Scott Boulevard wasn’t even a thing and Memorial Drive ended at Shoal Creek.

    S McDonough Road ended at Hill Street.


  3. Fascinating to see Decatur’s layout from then superimposed with the current. Interesting where the urban densities begin and end back then. And many thanks to Jack Kittle for the wonderful work.

  4. Is that a pool I see where Glenlake Park now is?

    And what is the building that sits where Kirk Crossing now is?

  5. Interesting to see the streetcar route along Oakview–too bad they tore it up. Looks like the section of the streetcar route past Ansley didn’t run along a road until near Adams. (And what do the dashed lines mean? An unpaved road? If so, there was a short, dead-end unpaved section of Oakview west of Adams St.)

  6. There’s also a misspelling of Clairemont around the area of the current Church of Christ. It reads “Cairemont.”

  7. It really irritates me that Decatur’s city leaders at the time didn’t have the foresight to annex the future Suburban Plaza and other commercial-heavy areas. Then, 85 years later, we wouldn’t have to rely so much on the residential tax base. Yet another example of shortsighted government.

    For the humor-impaired, that was a lame attempt at light-hearted sarcasm.

    1. Thank you Jack, this can be a entire day killer if I don’t watch out. The Decatur bookmark you sent is almost the same as the aerial photograph from 1949, very helpful for figuring out the street names. Will repost for anyone interested that might have missed it:

      I keep wishing it had a few more clicks of resolution so I could take a better look at what was going on in my backyard in december 1949.

      1. Interesting. Especially the fact that, in many areas of the city, it appears we had far less tree canopy coverage than we have today.

        I know we’re presently in some level of canopy decline from whatever our record high was but I wonder what percentage is reflected in, say, this photograph here. That is, what was considered normal during another period in Decatur’s history when development was in full force? Perhaps our present 40 or 45% fares well by comparison.

  8. Anyone know where the Trolley line that used to go down (Druid Hills) Ponce actually ended? It just dead ends at Deepdene Park on this map. I thought it went down East Lake into Oakhurst. Nope.

    1. The Dekalb History Center had a presentation last year related to historic trolley lines in Atlanta. The consultant has a nice website detailing the individual companies and include route maps.

      The maps don’t show a line going down Ponce, but do show both lines that crossed in Oakhurst (Metropolitan Street Railroad Company and Atlanta City Street Railway Company).

    2. This map on Wikipedia shows the line you referenced; as you can see, it ended where E Lake Dr meets Ponce.

      Have you ever noticed the small wooden structure on the side of the road at that intersection? That was a streetcar stop and probably marked the end of the line.

      In addition to TinMan’s link, the following site provides a detailed history, along with many amazing photos. There’s a photo of the streetcar stop about 3/4 of the way down the page. I couldn’t link directly to the photo, but just search for “Old trolley waiting station on Ponce de Leon Avenue, built in 1923.”

  9. This is absolutely fascinating. You can really see why Chris Leinberger once said that Atlanta is one of the fastest growing human settlements in the history of the world in terms of the amount of acres being consumed by its growing population.

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